I was approached by Hoffman Academy to review their piano lesson resources. When you visit their website, HoffmanAcademy.com you will immediately be asked to either register or view the lessons as a guest. Then you will be taken to the first of 60 video lessons by Mr. Joseph Hoffman that are available to view for free. You can read more about Mr. Hoffman here. Now you are probably thinking to yourself, why would I be interested in using these video lessons with my students? Doesn’t this kind of thing hurt what I am trying to accomplish?
I’m sure Mr. Hoffman would agree that video lessons no matter how helpful, cannot fully replace what can be accomplished with a “live” teacher. However, I’m always open to how my students and I can benefit from other resources that are out there. The video lessons are short in length varying from 5-15 min. which means they can easily be used to review concepts with a student both during and after lessons. Have you ever wished a student could come for lessons more then once a week? Have you ever thought what could happen with a student if they had a visual tool that can reinforce at home? I think of these videos like I would when I would show a video from YouTube, Quaver’s Music, etc… A tool that I can utilize that would reinforce what I am teaching. And I love that all the video’s are free, great quality and easily accessible! Mr. Hoffman is pleasant, easy to watch and understand and even a little quirky. I personally got a kick of the little puppet “shows” at the end.
THE HOFFMAN TEACHING PHILOSOPHY (excerpt from website)
In 2002, when Joseph Hoffman began his piano teaching career, he set out to find a teaching method that would help students to get the most out of their music lessons. He found several good methods, but none of them designed to develop the kind of “whole musicianship” that he wanted for his students. He liked the basic philosophy of the Suzuki method, which teaches students by ear first, but wanted something that also emphasized total fluency in music including note reading, music dictation, and composing from an early stage. Unable to find the method he wanted, Mr. Hoffman decided to create it himself.
The Hoffman Method, based on research in child development and learning theory, teaches students to play both by ear and sight. It engages a child’s natural curiosity and creativity using a multi-sensory approach while providing the kind of training needed to reach a high level of musical proficiency. Its child-friendly teaching tools make deep, meaningful learning both easy and fun, and it creates well rounded musicians who will love making music throughout their lifetime.
You can read more on the philosophy here.
The lessons are divided into 3 Units. Unit 1 covers the musical alphabet, finger numbers, basic rhythms and stepping, C and D Major Pentascales. Mr. Hoffman uses both the alphabet and solfege in his materials. Unit 2 covers the grand staff, more rhythms, G major pentascale, skipping and chords. Unit 3 covers more rhythm, chords and F and E Major Pentascales. Each unit includes dictation, composition, improvisation, ear training, sight-reading, technique and theory.
Here is the first video-
While not required to purchase, Hoffman Academy also offers supplemental material. I had a chance to look over the Unit 1 materials and especially enjoyed the activity pages. Included in the supplementary materials are theory worksheets and activity pages, songs with practice instructions, piano listening mp’s and practice mp3’s. All the materials are available for download. You can see all the purchase options in the store here. You will notice that going with the bundle of all 3 units gives you the most bang for your buck.
You can see some more sample pages here.
There is a section on the website that I encourage you to visit called Support. In this section you will find several articles about Getting Started, Practice Helps and even a helpful article for parents on How to Find a Piano Teacher.
Hoffman Academy is giving away 1 copy of supplementary Unit One materials to a lucky teacher. To enter, just leave a comment how you like to use video resources like these in your studio if you ever have and if you haven’t yet, how you think you would going forward. Deadline to enter is Sunday, February 23rd 10:00pm (az mountain standard). Giveaway has expired.